Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Dustin Byfulgien (1 assist)
2nd Star: Ondrej Pavelec (1 GA, 22 Saves)
1st Star: Andrew Ladd (2 goals, 1 assist, 1 GWG)
The Devils (10-6-4) were once again left wondering where their offense went as they dropped their third consecutive game, falling 3-1 to the Winnipeg Jets (10-9-1). The Devils had their chances to score, but were unable to take advantage of these opportunities. The one silver-lining for the Devils is that they still have a respectable record, but are now 1-4-1 in their past six games.
Game Time: 8:00 PM
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The Devils (10-5-4) will play the Winnipeg Jets (9-9-1) for the second time in as many games tonight for the second of three meetings this season. This will be the Devils only visit to Winnipeg. On Sunday, the Jets scored three straight after the Devils took a 2-1 lead going into the second period to steal a road victory 4-2. The beauty of a shortened season is it doesn’t take long to be able to get a shot at revenge against any opponent, and the Devils will be looking to do just that tonight at the MTS Centre.
(headline submitted by @radametz)
Saturday’s 2-1 win in Winnipeg was a tough game where the Devils battled all game. To be honest, it wasn’t their best game of the season, but they managed to win. Tonight, which was their first game back home since a 3-1-0 road trip through Pittsburgh and western Canada, the Devils made life a little easier for themselves, scoring early and often. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was a game that everyone can feel good about. It was also Jacob Josefson’s first game back in the NHL since injuring his clavicle back in October against San Jose. Josefson was unable to record a point with 12:58 ice time, however eight Devils recorded points and four of them put up multi-point games tonight, including a two-goal performance from Ilya Kovalchuk.
The first period was somewhat sloppy for the most part, as neither team was able to generate high-quality chances early on. The Devil who did come close to scoring early was David Clarkson. He had a number of chances in front of the net, but hit the post on the power play and missed the net on another good scoring chance. Then, with just over a minute remaining in the first period, Zach Parise deflected a Winnipeg shot from the point down and sent Ilya Kovalchuk alone on a breakaway. Kovy froze Jets goaltender Chris Mason and beat him to give the Devils a late 1-0 lead, in which they carried into the intermission.
That goal must have sparked the team, because they came out and absolutely dominated the second period. 90 seconds into the middle period, Petr Sykora one-timed Henrik Tallinder’s pass and it beat Mason cleanly to double the Devils’ lead. Just over three minutes later, David Clarkson went back to his patented toe-drag and somehow, the puck beat Mason. The Devils made it 3-0. Less than three minutes after Clarkson’s 16th of the season, Ilya Kovalchuk picked up his second of the game and 19th goal of the season. Winnipeg may have been fatigued, having played their third game in four nights, but the Devils were able to take advantage of them.
Once the Devils made it 4-0, they seemed to focus on preserving Martin Brodeur’s bid for his first shutout of the season. Unfortunately, Tobias Enstrom’s shot from the point beat Brodeur eight minutes into the third period, but three minutes later, Patrik Elias buried a rebound of Anton Volchenkov’s shot to make it 5-1, which held as the final. Brodeur stopped 20 of 21 shots he faced. Although the Devils started out a little slow, and couldn’t seem to connect on consecutive passes, once Kovalchuk scored at the end of the first period, they took the game over and never looked back.
Some game notes: Patrik Elias was honored before the game started for recently playing his 1,000th NHL game (all with the Devils). He put up a goal and two assists, which is exactly what he did on the night of his 1,000th game. He’s averaging a point-per-game this season (44 points in 44 games), as is Ilya Kovalchuk (40 points in 40 games). David Clarkson scored his 16th goal of the season tonight, which is one shy of his career high in goals. Brodeur is still without a shutout this season. He has never gone this late in a season (January 17th) without at least one shutout in his career as the Devils’ starting goaltender. Ilya Kovalchuk now has 60 goals as a New Jersey Devil. He has not recorded a hat trick as a Devil, despite tonight being his fifth multi-goal game as a Devil. Devils defensemen continue to put up points of late. Tonight, Kurtis Foster, Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov found the score-sheet, and Foster finished with a +3 plus-minus rating (as did Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora).
The Devils will continue their homestand Thursday night against the Boston Bruins. The team certainly remembers how Boston blew the Devils out on January 4th, 6-1, despite giving the Bruins a tough time in Boston earlier in the season.
New Jersey Devils (25-17-2, 52 points) vs Winnipeg Jets (21-19-5, 47 points)
7:00 PM EST
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight will be the final match-up between the Devils and the Winnipeg Jets this season, unless the miracle of miracles happens and they face each other in the playoffs. The Jets are coming off a 2-0 win against the Ottawa Senators last night, and as we saw this weekend, they are no pushover and the Devils need to keep up their strong play against them tonight.
The Devils have won 2 in a row, after a 2-1 come from behind win against Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon to keep them at 6th place in the Eastern Conference. A game like this proved that they have the determination to fight and battle after giving up an early lead. It would, however, be in their best interest to not continue to sit back and wait for mistakes, and just take it right to the Jets tonight.
The Devils will be honoring Patrik Elias for reaching the 1,000 NHL game mark with a ceremony before the start of the game tonight. His 1,000th game was played on January 6th at the Prudential Center against the Florida Panthers.
News & Notes:
Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson were selected to represent the Devils at this year’s All-Star Game. This is a huge stepping stone for the two rookies as they look to continue to secure a roster spot on this Devils team. Congratulations to both of them!
After having surgery over the summer to repair a tear in his Achilles tendon , Travis Zajac’s come back was cut short and he has been sidelined for the last 2 weeks with soreness in the tendon. His recovery is going to be a little longer than expected, but hopefully he will be ready to go later in the season when the Devils will need him most.
Andy Greene is still out with a fractured foot and broken toe, and was not cleared to start skating as of late last week. Currently in week 5 of his 4-6 week projected recovery, he’s right about where he’s supposed to be. His return is essential to improve the defense.
Nick Palmieri was recently sent back down to Albany, to make room for the return of Jacob Josefson, who recently completed a two game stint in Albany. Out since November with a broken right clavicle, it has been confirmed that Josefson will be making his return tonight!
Devils Stat Leaders:
Points – Patrik Elias, 41
Goals – Ilya Kovalchuk, 17
Assists – Patrik Elias, 25
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise (C) – Zubrus – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Clarkson
Tedenby – Carter – Josefson
Boulton – Mills – Zalewski
Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Foster
Tallinder – Fayne
*Scratches – Henrique, Taormina, Janssen
The Latest on the Winnipeg Jets:
The Jets are 0-14-2 when trailing after two periods, but scored 49 seconds in to the game last night. Obviously, getting the early lead is important to this club’s success.
Jets Stats Leaders:
Points – Blake Wheeler, 32
Goals – Evander Kane, 18
Assists – Blake Wheeler, 23
Projected Jets Lineup:
Kane – Little – Fehr
Ladd – Antropov – Wellwood
Stapleton – Cormier – Burmistrov
Glass – Slater – Miettinen
Hainsey – Enstrom
Oduya – Flood
Jones – Stuart
Over the course of an 82-game NHL season, every team is going to have games where they dominate, games where they’re average and games where they have to battle. While the Devils didn’t play poorly today, their 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets was definitely a battle. Even before the game started, the Devils knew nothing was going to come easy today, as they learned that Adam Henrique would sit out today due to a “mild” groin injury. That forced most of the forwards to play with different linemates today. Still, the Devils battled hard all game long and finish their road trip on a winning note, despite playing a very desperate Winnipeg team, who have now lost three straight themselves.
The Devils and Jets played a fairly even first period, although the Jets kept the Devils stuck in their own end for extended shifts late in the first period, and with about ninety seconds remaining in the period, Jets captain Andrew Ladd raced down the left wing and wristed one past Martin Brodeur’s glove for a 1-0 Winnipeg lead. It appeared that Adam Larsson tried to deflect the puck away, and may have tipped it over Marty’s glove. Regardless of how it went in, it changed the momentum and gave the Jets a spark heading into the second period. The Devils pressed for much of the second period, but couldn’t manage to beat Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who made several tremendous saves, including saves on Ilya Kovalchuk in the slot, Eric Boulton from close range, Bryce Salvador from the left side and an incredible stick save on Henrik Tallinder on a 2-on-1 feed from Petr Sykora.
Despite the Devils’ efforts to beat Pavelec, the Jets carried their 1-0 lead into the third period and through much of it. The Devils continued to attack, including on their second of two power plays in the game. Finally, at 9:45 of the third period, Dainius Zubrus scrambled to win a face-off and got it to Kurtis Foster, who rifled a shot from the right circle that beat Pavelec and tied the game. It was Foster’s first goal as a Devil in his 15th game to go along with 5 assists that he’s picked up with the Devils. More importantly, it sparked a strong series of shifts by the Devils. Just under three minutes after Foster’s goal, Adam Larsson took a cross-ice pass from Sykora and slap-passed it right to a wide-open Patrik Elias, who tapped it in to give the Devils a 2-1 lead. For Sykora, it was his 700th NHL point.
Even with the 2-1 lead, the Devils continued to generate scoring chances. Their biggest chance to make it 3-1 came with 1:36 remaining in the third period, when Patrik Elias went off on a partial breakaway and was taken down by Ron Hainsey. Elias was awarded a penalty shot. Peter DeBoer opted to use his time-out at that point. Perhaps he was trying to pull one out of the NFL playbook and “ice the goaltender.” Pavelec was able to get a piece of Elias’ glove-side shot and the score remained 2-1. After that, the Jets gave the Devils all they could handle. For nearly 90 seconds, the Devils were forced to hang on in their own zone. Still, Brodeur made the big saves when he needed to and the Devils held on for a huge win over Winnipeg, in regulation. It’s their first win in Winnipeg since January 19th, 1994 (as per the Devils Generals trivia question today).
For Brodeur, he bounced back after being pulled early in the first period in the 6-3 loss to Calgary. Although he didn’t take the loss in that game, neither goal he allowed in that game was a particularly good goal to give up. Today, despite allowing a goal at the end of the first period, he shut down the Jets’ offense (not Brian Schottenheimer’s Jets offense…). Brodeur finished with 22 saves on 23 shots en route to his 638th career victory. While he didn’t face a high number of Winnipeg shots today, he kept the Devils in the game when they were down 1-0, as well as making a key save on Andrew Ladd moments after Foster had tied the game.
Game notes: The Devils finish the road trip with three wins in four games. They’ll have a six-game home stand that starts Tuesday against these same Winnipeg Jets. Brodeur has 638 wins, but only two have come in the city of Winnipeg and four combined wins from the old Winnipeg Jets franchise before they moved to Phoenix and the current Winnipeg franchise, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers. Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk were both held scoreless today, although Kovalchuk attempted nine shots. Kovalchuk snaps a four-game multi-point streak. The Devils also scored both goals at even-strength. They didn’t score either goal in Edmonton at even-strength, and also snap a three-game streak with a power play goal and four-game streak with a shorthanded goal, although their penalty kill was 2-for-2. 10 of the Devils’ 24 shots came from defensemen, including Foster’s goal and technically, Elias’ goal was from a Larsson shot. Finally, over Brodeur’s last four wins, he’s made 114 saves on 118 shots (.966 save percentage).